I mentioned in the last article an issue with one of my partitions that I’m not allowing onto the network proper. One of the challenges this gives me is making sure I keep my software up to date, when I’m used to running a command to dial out.
Specifically I’m talking about the Must Gather Data Collector, championed by Graham Street in the newsletter last year. It has two main commands which I’ve found make my regular maintenance checklist a lot easier:
- Check for QMGTOOLS updates (option 13)
- Checking Group/Hiper/Defective PTFs (option 24)
Both of these options dial out to IBM to get their information, which my partition can’t do if I’m not letting it out to the WWW. I can easily download the savefile to update the library but making sure my PTFs are up to date is a bit more labourious.
The solution I decided to explore, what if I host all the info it needs on my primary partition?
For the purposes of the exercise I’ve gone with the basic apachedft instance, the IBM website mentions the PTF check goes to port 80 by default so save me re-inventing the wheel. Obviously for a production system you might want to consider in more detail the implications of that statement.
The next question is what data do I need on the server and where do I get it from? Well the latter we can gather from the menu options themselves as they tell you what locations the system will be looking in.
So, my first port of call will be https://public.dhe.ibm.com/services/us/igsc/has/
With regards to what information we need, I’ve gone with:
- Copy of the qmgtools savefile
- Copies of the text files listing PTFs
- Copy of xmldoc.xml
- Copy of the readme & changelog text files
In my case, I’m doing this on a POWER7 so I’ll take 6.1 through 7.3. In theory 6.1/7.1 should be a one and done since they won’t be changing, with 7.2 nipping at their heels, but no harm in setting up across the board in case I have a sudden urge to configure a new partition.
I’ve then dropped these into the htdocs folder for my apache instance
The final step is to go back to the earlier menu options and tell it to look at my new home for the data rather than the IBM website.
CMPVER doesn’t save the new address (although you can CHGCMDDFT if you’re so inclined.) The PTF locations are saved in data areas that will be overwritten when you run the upgrade, you can back them up in advance if you want (GRPPTFURL, MGURL, MG2URL, PSPURL) but I find it easier to just retype after the update.
With that all set, I’ve run through my partitions and checked their version of the tool is up to date along with their PTF levels. I actually found a couple of PTFs I’d missed, so slap on the wrist but also proving the usefulness of the technique.
Hopefully, by the time you’re reading this, we’re all discussing what a success the i-ug event was! Starting tomorrow at time of writing. Perhaps I’ve seen a few of you around, MNI Services are (were) one of the sponsors and have (had) a booth so might be we’ve already had a natter.